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Wildlife Nature Photography

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 4/6/2011

Want to learn wildlife nature photography? Then, you need the right equipment, and you need to learn proper nature photography techniques. Learn more in this digital photography tutorial.

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    Taking Nature Photographs

    If you are interested in taking wildlife nature photography, you need the right equipment, and you need to know about the techniques to capture amazing nature pictures. You also need a lot of patience and be willing to go where the animals are.

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    Grab Your Photography Equipment

    Bear on the Ledge The major equipment that you need for wildlife photography includes lenses, a tripod and a good digital SLR camera. Generally, for animal photography, you need a telephoto lens. The length of the telephoto lens that you need depends on how far away from the animals you plan on being.

    Since you don’t actually want to spook the animals, you probably want to be at least 20 feet from the animal. You want to zoom into the animal face, which shows off the animal personality. If you plan on investing a heavy-duty lens, select a lens holder. These attach to the lens and to your body helping distribute the weight and helps keep the lens steady.

    Always bring extra batteries and memory cards. You will probably nowhere near civilization when taking wildlife images unless you head to a zoo. It’s better to be safe than sorry

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    Photography Techniques

    Now, it’s on to the techniques needed to capture good animal photography. Don’t use a flash. Flashes tend to cause ghost or red eye problems. If the existing light is not enough, increase the ISO. Start off with an ISO setting of 800 and increase to 1,600 in increments.

    Adjust your shutter speeds as well. Animals are not going to hang around and wait for you to capture them. You have to take pictures as quickly as possible. Try setting the camera on either the “Action” or “Continuous” shooting modes. The “Continuous” shooting mode works really well since you can just hold down the shutter released and keep capturing images.

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    Where to Find Animals

    Now, it’s on to the techniques needed to capture good animal photography. Don’t use a flash. Flashes tend to cause ghost or red eye problems. If the existing light is not enough, increase the ISO. Start off with an ISO setting of 800 and increase to 1,600 in increments.Eye of a Dinosaur 

    Adjust your shutter speeds as well. Animals are not going to hang around and wait for you to capture them. You have to take pictures as quickly as possible. Try setting the camera on either the “Action” or “Continuous” shooting modes. The “Continuous” shooting mode works really well since you can just hold down the shutter released and keep capturing images.

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    Consider the Background

    Consider your background. Avoid having busy backgrounds. But, shoot for scenic locations like waterfalls, prairies or mountains. You want to get as much of the animal in the shot as possible, but you are still going to get some of the background. Just make it interesting.

    Finally, have fun, and bring plenty of food and water. Always have your camera ready, and have a lot of patience.

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    References

    Africa-Nature-Photography.com, http://www.africa-nature-photography.com/nature-photography-equipment.html

    Atkins, Bob. “A Guide to Nature Photography”, http://photo.net/learn/nature/atkins-primer

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